ST. THOMAS — When visualizing a storage space, we tend to think of the basics, galvanized walls and ceiling, a cement floor, a bare bones box.
When you walk into the new Battu Studio at Prime Storage you’ll see proof positive that interior designer Linea Ogiste can transform any area, even a storage unit, into a chic, comfortable and classy space.
Originally from Dominica, Ogiste worked for Louis Vuitton in Yacht Haven Grande for 12 years, where she honed her skills in visual merchandising, helping to open several stores in the U.S., Mexico and South America.
Ogiste has always been creative, a born artist who loves style and creating things. She adopted painting while on St. Thomas and started dabbling in interior design.
One day, she asked her boss whether she could style her apartment while she was off island for training.
“When she came back, she was blown away and told me I should be doing this for a living. That made me take it all more seriously,” said Ogiste.
“I started taking on more projects to build up my portfolio and it just became a thing. It was a lot of word of mouth and I just kept doing it. I never marketed myself, so a lot of people didn’t even know I was an interior designer because I was more focused on my painting.”
When the Louis Vuitton store on St. Thomas decided to close, it was time for some decisions.
If she could procure six interior design projects, she felt interior design could sustain her. She found her six projects, left the local Louis Vuitton shop before the actual closing and has never stopped working.
“For me, it was not even about the money. It was just about what I love doing. The goal is satisfaction from the client,” she said. “My husband David is my cheerleader. He believes in me and supports my work. He’s my business partner and we work well together because we go hand in hand with how we live our life and our lifestyle.
“We love beautiful things and beautiful spaces. Our environment is clean, not cluttered. It’s not about the material things, but just having the necessary things that you need to make you happy. That’s why my logo is ‘live better to feel better.’”
The more art she created, the more space she needed, and Ogiste decided to make it into a business, combining her art with her gift for interior design.
At Battu Studio, Ogiste offers her art, interior design services for homes, businesses, Airbnbs and other spaces and consultation services to help guide clients developing their own projects. She also creates one-of-a-kind epoxy resin countertops.
The buildout for the studio was extensive because of setbacks due to COVID-19 and being pregnant herself during that time.
The split-level space had a lot of potential, but took eight months to complete, insolating walls and creating a space far removed from the storage area it was originally built for, tastefully and carefully curated to create a comfortable, global atmosphere of simple sophistication.
The studio opened just over two weeks ago.
“I really wanted a place where I could showcase my art in a more sophisticated way. I didn’t want to throw my art into a space where it would get lost, so this is a space that fits perfectly to showcase my own art and my skills,” said Ogiste.
“The buildout was quite an expense, but it was worth it. I knew we had to go that route because interior design is a sophisticated type of service. We have an area where they can come and do some lifestyle shopping, nothing heavy, but I didn’t really want to call it a store, because it’s my workspace. That’s why I call it a studio. The reason why I left some space empty was so I can work, throw my canvas down and paint or pour epoxy.”
For Ogiste, it’s all about finding out what the client needs, honing in on the aesthetic and finding the right pieces for each project. She curates globally and locally on a treasure hunt to find the perfect components.
As for the name, Battu Studio is a nod to her grandfather of Carib Indian descent, who nicknamed her Linea Battu. She never did find out what it meant, but adopted the nickname after his passing.
He was a fisherman and a farmer who was also good at crafts and creating woven items. The Battu Studio logo is simplistic to represent the simple but rich life she had growing up, and the flourish is actually a stylized machete symbolizing her grandfather.
“We took the chance and we are here and I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “This is here to kind of raise the standard and also sort of build a culture where we take pride in our spaces, and I think it’s inspiring, even with students. A lot of them may be into design, but they didn’t know this could be a career for them.”
Battu Studio is located at Prime Storage in building F.
Call 340-201-3688 or visitbattustudio.com for more information.